A local case was in the High Court last month when Paul Tociapski claimed his brother, Boris, had put pressure on their father, Igor Tociapski, to transfer his Weedon property to him in February 2010. Paul also claimed that their father’s 2009 will was invalid on the grounds of testamentary capacity and lack of knowledge and approval.
Judge Stuart Isaacs QC decided that there was no sufficient evidence to satisfy him that the late Mr Tociapski had made the transfer of his £350,000 home to Boris with full, free and informed thought. He therefore set the transfer aside for reasons of undue influence.
The judge also considered the validity of Igor Tociapski’s 2009 which left everything to Boris. The judge accepted that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the will ; namely that there appeared to be no rational reason for Paul to have been cut out of his father’s will, which represented a change from previous wills.
The court heard an expert report dealing with the late Mr Tociapski’s capacity around the time that the disputed will was made. Although the report did not state that the testator lacked capacity, the expert felt that Mr Tociapski’s capacity was impaired and that this had affected his ability to know and approve the contents of the will.
Judge Isaacs said he was not satisfied Igor Tociapski understood what was in the 2009 will or its effect. He therefore declared the 2009 will to be invalid on the ground of want of knowledge and approval.
The ruling means Igor Tociapski’s 2007 will, which splits his estate equally between Paul and Boris, will now take effect.
By Karen Shakespeare, 19th April 2013